The Corner

G-File Feedback

Readers are mixed.

Column A:


Usually I enjoy reading your columns. Not this one. Whenever you get into discussions of pragmatism and other early 20th century movements, I find myself wishing you had “chosen the sandwich.” The sandwich is the pragmatic choice in your case and the only thing about pragmatism that is likely to stick from this column.

Column B:

Dear Mr. Goldberg:

Damn! That was a terrific piece. I read and much enjoyed Menand’s book as well, and bored people to death trying to make the same point you make so deftly in that ‘review.’ I suppose it is a testament to his honesty that one can find the targets for scathing critique of the Pragmatists, even as he gushes on about their brilliance. This is probably better reserved for a beer sometime (or another column when you finish that sandwich), but I came away from the book thinking that, far from being the ‘practical’ applier of Pragmatic principles, Dewey in fact betrayed them entirely. Why don’t you take a crack at that?

At this stage of your philosophical career, you probably spout Disraeli without even realizing it, so let me compliment you for almost exactly reconstituting the essence of “Why Conserve?”

Sad to say, once upon a time there were political figures who could handle that level of profundity AND practice practical politics at the same time (without Ted Sorensen to dress it up.) Any ambitions? Best regards and Thanks! John Cooper-Mullin

PS: If you keep up this level of analysis, I may even reinstate my Miers-motivated cancelled subscription….

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now. @jonahnro

Most Popular


Jonathan Swift in a White Suit

In 1965 Tom Wolfe visited Princeton University for a panel discussion of "the style of the Sixties." The author of The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, published that year, was scheduled to appear alongside Günter Grass, Allen Ginsberg, and Paul Krassner. Grass spoke first. The German novelist's ... Read More

In Appreciation, and against (Too Much) Nostalgia

To put it a little self-pityingly: It seems that my gurus are going, and the world’s. Richard Pipes, the great historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, died on Thursday; Bernard Lewis, the great historian of the Middle East, died yesterday. We had them both for a long time. Pipes was born in 1923, Lewis way ... Read More
Law & the Courts

This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism—May 20

1996—What’s one way to deal with unhelpful precedent? Just ignore it entirely, as Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in Romer v. Evans does. In 1986 the Supreme Court ruled in Bowers v. Hardwick that it is constitutionally permissible for states to make homosexual conduct criminal. A decade later, the Court ... Read More

Comedians Are Catching On

The comedians are beginning to catch on. Over the weekend -- just one week after featuring a bevy of top-line Hollywood stars impersonating members of the Trump administration, as well as a cameo by a vengeful Stormy Daniels asking for President Trump’s resignation -- Saturday Night Live finally acknowledged ... Read More
PC Culture

The Nature of Progressive Insensitivity

Former vice president Joe Biden is back in the news yet again. For a second time, he seems surprised that poor residents of the inner city are capable of doing sophisticated jobs: We don't think ordinary people can do things like program, code. It's not rocket science, guys. So, we went and we hired some folks ... Read More

The Feminization of Everything Fails Our Boys

Let me share with you two troubling — and, I believe, closely linked — news reports. The first, from this weekend, comes courtesy of the American Enterprise Institute’s Mark Perry. In one chart, he highlights the dramatic and growing gender gap in higher education. In short, women are dominating: ... Read More